Outcast Registration

Intervention Parrhesia in the City


09 April 2015, Amsterdam


Nikki Gonnissen, designer, Thonik, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Elisabeth Kopf, designer, Vienna, Austria
Ulrike Möntmann, artist, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Vienna, Austria

Objective: Making Things Visible and Public

Method: Making the Personal Public

“The project parrhesia in the City seeks to present the results of the artistic practice and research project Outcast Registration to the population, visitors and other users of cities in Central Europe. My earlier prison projects concluded with the abandonment of the Baby Dolls to their fate in the public space frequented by addicts (to be »saved«, mutilated or thrown away, as chance would have it), forging anonymous 1:1 contacts between object (Baby Doll) and the general public (i.e. individual passers-by). With the present project, in contrast, I move into the public arena, the aim being to reach the public at large.

To develop the project Parrhesia in the City, I present the facts, figures and experiences derived from new cooperation with drug-addicted women detainees (autobiographers) and the participants from the worlds of academia, art and politics to a leading advertising agency. Together we will transform the content, using advertising strategies, into a commercial-style »counter-proposal« in a conspicuous format in the City Light display cases around the city. The aim is to achieve a visual and textual transformation of the research material into the »product« Outcast Registration, according to the standards of product advertising in the public space. The intelligent unambiguousness of the Message (shorn of any sentimentality or sensationalism), the speed of the information flow and the penetrating presence of the City Lights in the cityscape will »force« passers-by to take notice of the lives of some of the least popular of their fellow human beings.

Parrhesia in the City is both a project for the exchange of artistic practice and research and an Anti-Advertisement campaign, a series of interventions in public policy relating to the »regulation of the population« (as used by Michel Foucault in his Histoire de la sexualité) in the public space.”

(abstract of project proposal Parrhesia in the City by Ulrike Möntmann, translated by Beverly Jackson)